Diabetes is a serious medical condition, but campaigners say if it is managed properly then it should not prevent young people form enjoying a proper education and a full life.
National charity Diabetes UK is urging people in Gloucestershire to help improve care in schools for children with diabetes by taking part in a Government consultation on how schools can better support youngsters with the condition.
At the moment, the charity says, many children with Type 1 diabetes are prevented from meeting their academic potential because the additional support they need as a result of their condition is not in place.
This means children with Type 1 diabetes can be excluded from school activities, denied places on school trips, and refused help with injecting, which means their parents have to go into school to help them.
Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK south west regional manager, said: “This consultation offers a huge opportunity to help ensure that all children are able to fully participate in their education, both here in Gloucestershire and across the country.
“At the moment, some parents and carers are telling us that their children are being refused help with their insulin or are refused a snack to help treat low blood sugar levels. In some cases parents have even had to go into the school to administer insulin, which puts a huge strain, emotionally and financially, on their families.”
And Mike Broome, chairman of the Glevum Voluntary Group, agrees.
The group is a support network for those with the disease and those who care for them.
Mr Broome said: “I don’t have much personal experience of young people with diabetes, but I can say that more awareness can only be a good thing.
“Especially for young people, diabetes can be a scary condition, because they might need to have injections if they’ve got type 1 diabetes. It’s not to say it’s not a serious matter but if you understand the issues then they become much less of a problem and much less scary.”
Mr Broome added: “Going away on trips can be difficult because you need to take insulin with you and it needs to be stored, but with some forethought and management it’s nor that hard at all.
“And one thing I’d like everyone to know with young people is what to do if someone has a ‘hypo’, where their blood sugar level drops too low. That can be alarming, but normally getting them to sit down and giving them a swig of a sugary drink will have them right again in five minutes. I think everyone in schools should know what to do about that.”
Phaedra Perry added: “ “This is why we are urging everyone, and especially parents, carers and people affected by diabetes, in Gloucestershire to have their say and tell the Government what they think of care for children with Type 1 diabetes in schools. By taking part in the consultation, we can help ensure all children with Type 1 diabetes get the support they need in school.”
Further information about the government’s consultation, including Diabetes UK’s view of it, is available on the Diabetes UK website at diabetes.org.uk/make-the-grade
The consultation can be completed online at education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=Respond&consultationId=1947